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Ahhhh, new love. There’s nothing quite so sweet — and stressful. A brand-spanking-new relationship is fun, don’t get me wrong, but it’s also really hard and scary. This stage is full of uncertainty about the person you’re seeing and where the relationship is going. Relationship advice is crucial at this stage, but it’s more important to have the right conversations than it is to seek relationship tips. While you can’t control how the other person feels or what they think, you can make sure you’re asking the right questions so you can have a better idea about if the relationship is right for you. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you’re with someone who will support you, shares your ideals and values, and will work with you, not against you, in the future.
If you’re in a new relationship, make sure to ask these questions. Warning: don’t sit your kind-of-sort-of significant other down in a chair interrogation-style. Simply work these into your conversations in a natural way. If you throw all of these out at him/her at once, you will scare them off. Just act natural, okay?
1. What are your goals?
Goals say a lot about a person. Whether or not someone has goals they want to achieve shows the level of ambition they have, and what kind of life they want to create. If you’re extremely goal-oriented, then you likely want someone who is goal-oriented as a partner. However, don’t automatically assume a person isn’t ambitious or that the relationship won’t work if you have different views on goals. Some people don’t know exactly what they want to do yet, and therefore won’t set goals until they’ve figured that out.
That being said, if you have a goal of living overseas doing mission work and your potential partner never wants to leave the state, then you need to consider if this new relationship if worth pursuing.
2. Do you want a family?
Even if you think your romantic interest is absolutely perfect, differing views on family can change everything. If one of you wants to get married and have kids, and the other has absolutely no intention of ever doing those things, then this new relationship won’t survive long-term. You’ll be setting yourself up for fights and arguments as long as you stay in the relationship.
3. What’s your political affiliation?
This is a pretty big deal in today’s political climate. If politics are something you care about (and you should care about politics), then it’d be best to date someone with similar political views. However, don’t ask in an aggressive way, and don’t jump down their throat if they don’t share your views. Be gracious about it, and recognize that they have a right to their own views. This might be something you can overcome in your new relationship — it all just depends on how passionate you and your partner are about your separate political views.
4. What’s your religious affiliation?
Just like the previous question, religious views can make or break a relationship. This is a question you should ask early on so you can get a better idea of where the relationship is going (if anywhere). When you approach the topic, you should also try to get an idea of how they feel about other religious views. Are they tolerant of other religions? Some people can make a relationship work even when they prescribe to different religions, but that’s because they’re willing to accept each other’s difference and not bash opposing ideals.
5. What are some of your interests and hobbies?
A person’s interests and hobbies tell you what kind of person they are and if you’ll enjoy doing things together. Are you into similar hobbies? Or is your new relationship partner going to refuse to try that new hiking trail you want to explore? Part of dating someone is sharing the activities in your life, and it’s a lot harder to do that if the two of you don’t share similar interests.
6. Are you close with your family?
Whether you’re close to your family or not, they still have a hand in who you are. If being close to family is a major thing for you, then you want to make sure you’re dating someone who understands and supports that, and hopefully is also equally as close with their own family. That being said, there’s nothing wrong with dating someone who isn’t as close to their family as you are. Everyone has their own family dynamic. But, it is important that you know how your significant other feels about family closeness in general.
7. What do you want your life to look like in 5, 10, 15 years?
This is a great question to introduce in a new relationship. Goals and dreams aren’t always attached to a deadline, so it’s good to know where someone wants to be within so many years. For instance, do they want to be married before 30? Do they envision some kids and a white picket fence or do they want to live in a big city with a dog while building an impressive career? And most importantly, does their vision compliment the vision you have for your own life in that time?
8. What’s your ideal way to spend a day?
This says so much about a person. Not only does the answer reveal hobbies and interests, but it also says a lot about whether or not the person is social or anti-social, lazy or hard-working, and family-oriented or not. Even if you don’t care how social they are, it’s still nice to get an idea of the kind of person you’re dating early on. You don’t want to get three months into a relationship only to find out he/she actually hates going out to bars while you love it. But on an even more important note — it’s very good to know up front whether or not your love interest is hardworking and goal-oriented. If you are both of those things and they’re not (or vice-versa), then you’re likely going to have some issues with this new relationship down the road.